Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Contemplating Retrospective

I've been busy with a bunch of projects lately, but none too interesting to most people. I get to think while I work on my car, or bike, and reflect quite a bit.

Some reflections are pleasant, like the time I did a winter raly around Michigan in an MG Magnette. Trust me, it wasn't warm, but it was fun. At least now it seems like it was, over a decade later.

Others aren't as good. The time my best friend was killed in a firefight by my side, and I vividly remember trying to put his stomach and organs back into him, and accompanying his body home. We worked differently than the regular Army, and I was with the chaplain and some officers when we broke the news to his family.

Certain experiences are seared into our brains. Often a sound transports me to that faraway place, and tonight it was the most unlikely source. My wife was watching the Sex and the City movie. In the scene where Sarah Jessica Parker is hitting Chris Noth with flowers, she and one of her friends screamed a certain way. And it was exactly the way my friend's mother screamed when we told her he had been killed. Blood curdling screams punctuated by gut wrenching sobs.

I tried to comfort her, but she just screamed at me "HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN TO HIM? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO WATCH OUT FOR EACH OTHER!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!" I know she didn't mean it. Two years later she was in the hospital and I decided to visit. It was difficult for me, but I knew I needed the closure, as well as her.

We spoke briefly, and just before I left, she said "I know you did everything you could. The other guys told me so. I'm sorry for what I said to you. Please forgive me, it's been eating at me since the funeral."

"Of course I forgive you. It's ok, I figured you didn't mean it. I'm glad I was able to let you vent." We laughed, talked a bit about how things were, and I watched a woman get to a place where she was at peace with everything in her life. I got up to leave, and she said "I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you. It means a lot to me." We smiled at each other as I left.

She died that night.

I'm a very lucky person. For very many reasons. Sometimes I think about it. But most times I don't. Maybe I should more.

1 comment:

David Amulet said...

No need to dwell on it--being lucky, that is. Just don't get cocky--that tempts fate, methinks.